16 Days of Activism Spotlight: The Women’s Centre
By Jessica Ingram
Founded in 1991 and recognized internationally, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence begin November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence, and end December 10, Human Rights Day. The 16 Days of Activism provide an opportunity for people around the world to unite in condemning and speaking out against gender-based violence and renew the commitment to eradicate violence against women, girls, the LGBTQ2 community, and gender diverse people .
As identified by the United Nations (2021), significant research and data have shown that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of all forms of violence, particularly domestic violence. As such, this has become a global crisis that needs a collective support response to address and prioritize the safety of those experiencing gender-based violence.
We, as Canadians, must be active participants within our community to ensure safety in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Many organizations within the VAW sector have reported increases of up to 50% in calls to crisis lines and outreach and admissions to VAW shelters (Canadian’s Women Foundation, 2020). This surge in demand is particularly significant because it occurs when most women’s resources, such as shelters and sexual assault centres, are already at their maximum capacity.
The mission of the Women’s Centre Grey Bruce is to provide a safer place for women and children. Within the 2020-2021 year, The Women’s Centre has received more than 1,385 crisis calls, supported the development of 855 safety plans, offered 2,977 days of residential stay, and provided over 115 women specialized counselling support. The ability to continue to offer safety and support from an abusive home amid a global pandemic remains at the forefront for all staff, who lend continued compassion, empathy, and unconditional support for women and children who require a safer space.
We urge our community to become vocal and to take action toward violence against women and all acts of gender-based violence. Women and children who are particularly vulnerable to abusive situations rely on the support and resources within their community to find safer housing and respite to begin to rebuild a safer life.
If you, or a women or child you know, may be experiencing violence at home, please contact The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce at 1-519-371-1600,or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit thewomenscentre.org for more information.